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Bubble Guppies, you’re on notice

American kids are falling behind in math and science. Here’s why: the TV program Bubble Guppies is letting our kids down when it comes to understanding the laws of physics.

Look, I dropped physics in high school. You know that law that tells you the rate of speed at which something is dropping? Well, I dropped it real fast according to that law. But I can tell you what: Bubble Guppies allows all sorts of things to be going on underwater that just physically CAN’T happen underwater.

I get, for the sake of art, one must often take a leap of faith, and accept certain fictional worlds have their own sets of rules. I know bunnies don’t talk, but on Max & Ruby they do (I still don’t like you, Ruby!). I know that community college study groups aren’t generally as tight as they are on Community, but for the sake of a good show, I’m willing to accept that as reality.

But on Bubble Guppies, there are no laws at all. They make a big show in the opening credits that the program is going to happen underwater: when the screen fills with H2O behind the title, my little one commences a fit of glee. Then after that, it’s all willy-nilly. The Guppies swim around, but they can also sit or fall on the ground whenever they feel like it. They can place objects on surfaces and they don’t float away. That’s not how it works in the pool, little Johnny! And let’s not try it.

And the most egregious flouting of physics comes in today’s brand-new episode: the Guppy world has a FIRE BRIGADE! REALLY? Where do they get the water from to put out all those fires? I couldn’t think! I haven’t seen the episode yet (and I assure you – I soon will) but I bet they skirt the issue by doing something dumb and safe by rescuing a kitten from a magical underwater tree. And I bet the fish-kitten won’t figure out that he can just swim out of the tree. We’ll see.

I guess they want to ease preschoolers into the hard facts of life: that gravity exists. That what goes up must come down. But like a lot of kids’ shows today, I think they take it a little too easy on children – they can handle a bit more than we give them credit for. On the episode I saw earlier today, one of the kids is sad he can’t dig up dinosaur skeleton on his own. Because he’s allergic to dirt! Dust clouds make him SNEEZE underwater! But by the end, just when he’s feeling so so down, he sneezes and the breeze that this stirs up (…) causes a huge dirt wall to fall, revealing a perfect triceratops skeleton! And then the paleontologist, who presumably spent years developing a career just to carefully and slowly achieve such a goal, does a dance of congratulation for the Guppy and everyone is so proud. Because he “finally” (as he says) found his dream fossil! After twenty whole minutes! What does that teach our kids? Nothing, that’s what.

It’s a sweet show and it really tries, in a very contrived way, to be inclusive and encouraging, which I appreciate. But I don’t mind a kids’ show with some teeth – baby teeth. Have you ever seen Shaun the Sheep? “He even mucks about with those who cannot bleat!” The sheepdog uses a clipboard to keep track of the sheep! See? That doesn’t obey the laws of biology, but it makes perfect sense!

[Please – it might not be the best joke in the world, but this essay is meant to be A JOKE – so if you cannot see this and are thinking of sending me a comment in which you explain to me that guess what? Barney the Dinosaur isn’t real either, or I should find something better to worry about, please move on with your own life instead. I have gotten several of these comments and I am no longer going to post them, so feel free to advertise your inability to understand sarcasm elsewhere. This post was a first attempt at a humorous blog post after a long period of not writing – if you can do better,  go straight ahead]

  1. Laurie Caruso #

    I think everyone has to get a grip! stop analyzing let kids be kids. In school they’ll learn the right things. What about Cinderella, are their really pumpkins that turn into coaches and Fairy Godmothers who grant wishes ugghhhhh! sometimes people have to much time on their hands!

    April 29, 2013
  2. Bridgett Verdin #

    I guess your kids don’t believe in Santa either right. Its fantasy!!! Is Barney a talking dinasour ok? How about our childhood cartoons? They didn’t teach anything! What did you learn from the Jetsons or Flintstones? Bugs bunny and Scooby-doo taught us so much right? Teach your kids what they are supposed to learn and don’t rely on tv!!

    May 25, 2013
  3. Nikki G #

    I totally agree! This show irritates me nearly as much as Dora the Explorer. If they’re going to set it underwater why not keep it that way? Just watched an episode where they went camping (swimming all the way) on the moon! There was a moon bear and a moon raccoon among other animals. Ridiculous! Sharky ang George was so much better…

    August 22, 2013
  4. Cynthia Fleming #

    The comments about Bubble Guppies and the logic of the scenes being underwater while physics proves it is impossible….we all know that, already. Think of what you are saying! These characters are not real people, they are animated for children to relate to, hello?! Like any other children’s fictionals, they need to start somewhere and this is perfect for my daughter age 2 & 10.5 months and learning at home, to relate to and learn from, along with her second favorite, Peter Rabbit. Not to be rude but if “you” are so bored with it maybe you need to remember who is suppose to come first in your parenting world, AND :watch your own shows after the kids are asleep.

    November 6, 2013
    • Oh, come on.

      This essay is supposed to be a joke, to poke a little fun at people who take these things too seriously. I don’t really think American kids are falling behind because of this show, for Pete’s sake.

      If you want to criticize the execution of the joke or the writing, that’s fair. But please do not accuse me of being bored when you’ve spent this much time commenting on a blog you’ve misinterpreted.

      November 6, 2013
      • Cynthia Fleming #

        Life meant bored with the show.

        November 6, 2013

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